Money Consumers urged not to boycott Golden Circle tinned pineapples as north Queensland fruit left to rot

15:53  13 january  2018
15:53  13 january  2018 Source:   ABC News

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US-based processor Kraft Heinz defends its Golden Circle brand after its cannery was blamed for hundreds of tonnes of fresh pineapples going to waste in north Queensland .

Consumers urged not to boycott Golden Circle tinned pineapples as north Queensland fruit left to rot – ABC Rural. Agricultural Crops Business Economics and Finance Food and Beverage Food Processing Fruit Fruits Industry Rural.

Kraft Heinz says Golden Circle sells only Australian tinned pineapples to the major retailers.© Provided by ABC News Kraft Heinz says Golden Circle sells only Australian tinned pineapples to the major retailers. Consumers of tinned pineapple have been urged not to boycott Golden Circle, the only company processing Australian pineapples.

Angry Australians vented their fury online this week after NQ Paradise Pines shared a social media post on Tuesday, criticising Golden Circle's Brisbane cannery for not opening early to process a glut of north Queensland fruit.

Farmers said they were being forced to leave hundreds of tonnes of pineapples to rot, due to a glut of the fruit.

But US-based processor Kraft Heinz has broken its silence to refute the claims, maintaining its Golden Circle brand was not to blame for the fresh pineapples going to waste.

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"For 70 years, Golden Circle has been one of the largest supporters of Australian pineapple growers," a spokesperson said.

The company processed more than 25,000 tonnes of Australian pineapples in spring, less than anticipated because of seasonal weather variations.

"The cannery remained open for an extra three weeks during December to take additional pineapples," the spokesperson said.

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"One week prior to the scheduled Christmas closure, our cannery received notice of available supply from a fresh market packer in north Queensland.

"As trained labour was not available over the Christmas week, and Golden Circle's standards for canned pineapple require processing within three days of harvesting, the fruit could not be taken.

"All of the tinned pineapple Golden Circle sells to the major retailers is Australian-grown and canned in our Brisbane cannery."

The company has the support of Piñata Farms, which grows pineapples across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

According to managing director Gavin Scurr, it is crucial that Australians do not boycott Golden Circle.

"At the moment they're very busy with mangoes. It's the mango season and normally there are not many pineapples round at this time of year," he said.

"So they actually close their pineapple part of the factory over the Christmas period.

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"Normally there's not a lot of fruit around, so Golden Circle use that time to actually do maintenance on their plant, so even if they wanted to they can't because the machinery is in bits, or was in bits."

The NQ Paradise Pines Facebook post has been shared more than 21,000 times.

"Our previous post about a shortage of canned Australian fruit and current fresh whole pineapple oversupply obviously hit a nerve about imported food," NQ Paradise Pines wrote.

NQ Paradise Pines said it had been contacted by various groups including Queensland Foodbank, which purchases oversupply at cost and distributes it to people in need.

"We will look at every option to reduce waste if gluts persist in the future, including the foodbank and our own mobile juicing plant."

Mr Scurr hoped the publicity would encourage people to eat more pineapples.

"All the fresh pineapples, so the ones you buy from your local greengrocer or Coles or Woolworths, the ones with the skin on, are all Australian, 100 per cent Australian. There's no imported fresh pineapple," he said.

Farmers at Rollingstone, near Townsville, one of Queensland's largest pineapple growing districts, said heaps of rotting, unsaleable fruit left them "lost for words".

Chris and Damien Berra grow 2.2 million pines, and said the farms had to take more responsibility for dealing with the waste as financial margins tightened.

"There's no way we would ever do anything to waste fruit. We run very close to the edge.

"Some sort of juicing plant would be quite handy to do something with them instead of sitting here having them rot, but it's something we might just have to look at in the future."

Ultimately, the clashing of the north and central Queensland growing districts needs to be better managed, according to Australian Pineapple Growers chairman Stephen Pace.

"We could do better. I think there's a little bit of a lesson learnt this season that maybe we need to be more proactive as well," he said.

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Source: http://au.pressfrom.com/news/money/-52082-consumers-urged-not-to-boycott-golden-circle-tinned-pineapples-as-north-queensland-fruit-left-to-rot/

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